This can’t be good.
Special Agent Aura Henderson popped the plunger on her ballpoint pen over and over as she headed to the conference room. Her boss didn’t usually call impromptu meetings, so whatever this mission was, it must be big.
She turned the corner and stepped into the room.
Five team members were already seated, but she homed in on Kingsley Pratt, their shamanic computer programmer. His ability to braid in powerful energies from the spirit realm to aid his computer coding gave the department abilities that would make the most cutting-edge hackers jealous. All his attention was on the tablet in front of him. If anyone had inside information, it would be him.
She took the high-backed executive chair across from him. “Hi, King.”
He peered at her over the top of his bifocals, his eyes already bloodshot. She’d worked with him for five years and still didn’t know what demons haunted him. His voice was tight, his English accent clipped. “Good morning, Agent Henderson.”
“Am I late?” Holli Porter breezed in with her long brown hair in a thick braid down her back. She worked in the vault data collection department. She wasn’t usually in the field op meetings. Weird.
Aura gave her a polite smile. “Bale’s not here yet, so you’re good.”
Holli settled in at the other end of the table with some of the other field agents as Aura leaned in closer to Kingsley, keeping her voice hushed. “Any idea why Agent Bale called us here today?”
Kingsley shrugged and checked the door before taking out his phone.
Aura’s phone vibrated with a text.
You didn’t hear it from me, but I got a code 999 this morning.
Aura kept her expression neutral, but damn, a code 999 meant something was missing from the relic vault. She sent a text back.
King gave her an almost imperceptible nod across the table. Department 13 housed some of the deadliest paranormal artifacts in the world. Depending on how long the missing object had been gone, the entire human race could be in jeopardy.
Agent David Bale came through the door and cleared his throat.
He kept his dusty brown hair short, but just shy of a military cut. It enabled him to blend in with almost any crowd. His no-nonsense charcoal suit helped him remain unremarkable despite his imposing height, intense blue eyes, and broad shoulders. As unlikely as it seemed, most people never remembered seeing him.
She’d been briefly attracted to him when she’d first joined the department, but thankfully the infatuation had faded into a healthy working relationship based on mutual respect.
For the first time in her five years with Department 13, she’d blown an undercover mission. It hadn’t all been her fault. A smarmy immortal pirate had waltzed in, guns blazing, and blown everything up. But still. She couldn’t shake the feeling that she had let Agent Bale and her team down. Ever since, she’d been itching for a chance to redeem herself.
Maybe this would be it.
Agent Bale’s gaze swept the room until his pale-blue eyes locked on her. “Agent Henderson, you’re on my recon team for this mission.”
“Yes, sir.” She nodded. “Whatever you need.”
Agent Bale addressed the entire room. “The north wing of our relics vault was inventoried, and crate 45942 is unaccounted for. Unencrypted documents regarding this artifact are available now on your tablets for you to review.” He crossed his arms, his expression grim. “We’ve received a message from the thirteenth division of the Secret Intelligence Service in England.” MI6 had a secret division similar to Department 13’s in the UK. “MI13 transmitted photos of an unexplained phenomenon from the Glasgow harbor in Scotland. I think it’s safe to say we’ll be starting there.”
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